THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP OF HIGH SCHOOL

A CAPPELLA

DEAR FRIENDS,

 

Welcome to Varsity Vocals’ 23rd season! Our enthusiasm for the art of a cappella is greater than ever after almost a quarter century of presenting the best student groups on stage and in the studio.

Our tournaments have grown from a handful of events to the massive showcase they are today, featuring more than 650 groups and 9,800 singers at 87 events across North America and the United Kingdom.

Our original tournament inspired the hit movie Pitch Perfect, based on the nonfiction book documenting the true story of rival groups competing against each other in our very own ICCA. The Pitch Perfect franchise remains the highest-grossing musical series of all time.

The stories of our real ICCA competitors are also the subject on the TV docu-series Sing It On, which follows competing groups on their journey to ICCA Finals. Sing It On aired in 80 million homes on POP TV and enjoyed a long stay on Netflix.

Despite the incredible growth and mainstream popularity we’ve enjoyed, our focus remains sharply on the promotion and development of the talent that crosses our stage. We believe competition fosters growth, as groups work together toward a specific goal and cultivate lifelong friendships. 

We provide top-notch feedback from our highly qualified judges – but more importantly, our singers get to connect with a larger audience from across the country, learning from their peers and finding inspiration in other groups.

With those same goals in mind, we were thrilled to launch the International Championship of A Cappella Open two years ago. “The Open” (#AcaOpen) is an all-access a cappella tournament that brings together singers of all ages, regardless of student status, to compete on an international stage for a chance at $25,000. Its third season will kick off this summer.

We hope that over the years, The Open will encourage the growth of professional a cappella, much in the way the ICCA helped catapult competitive a cappella into the mainstream in Pitch Perfect and Sing It On, or how the development of the ICHSA contributed to the rapid growth of high school a cappella programs across the country. 

This is the biggest program extension in our long history, and we think it’s a natural one. After all, our founding goal was “to inspire young people to sing their entire lives.” If we want people to keep singing past the age of 22, well, they’re going to need a stage, right? 

We have seen a cappella make great strides from where it began on our stage 23 years ago, and we can’t wait to see where our 2019 season takes us. Committed to promoting our singers and energized by the great music they create, we look forward to another memorable season. Thank you for joining us!

Sincerely,

Amanda Newman
Executive Director

ICHSA MIDWEST SEMIFINAL

 

The Pabst Theater
Saturday, March 23, 2019

WE'RE SOCIAL

 

We're talking about this event, and all of our events around the world!

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ABOUT VARSITY VOCALS

 

Since 1996, we have encouraged students worldwide to sing a cappella throughout their lives. Our programs include the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), and the International Championship of A Cappella Open (The Open). We also annually produce The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA) compilation albums.

Our a cappella competitions give top-notch a cappella groups the opportunity to showcase their talents for an international audience and to take home valuable feedback from our qualified judges. This year, competing groups will appear in venues all around the world, offering their energetic musical performances for your enjoyment.

The college tournament takes place from January through April in nine regions across the country and around the world. Each region holds anywhere from three to five Quarterfinals, and the top groups from each Quarterfinal advance to the Semifinal. The winning group at each Semifinal is named Regional Champion and advances to the ICCA Finals in New York City.

The high school tournament is now in its 14th year and continues to grow fast. We are now holding Quarterfinal rounds in all of our regions, and the 2019 season will feature the largest high school tournament field in our history. The winners of each of seven Semifinal rounds will advance to the ICHSA Finals at The Town Hall in New York City.

The Open Tournament took place for the second time ever in summer 2018 and featured six semifinals that lead to the Open Finals featuring those six Regional Champions, two Wild Card Champions, and our 2018 ICHSA and ICCA Champions. Those 10 groups competed at Carnegie Hall in New York City this past September.

 For a full tournament schedule, visit us at 
www.varsityvocals.com.

ABOUT TONIGHT'S SHOW

 

The performance order was determined by random draw this afternoon and will be announced from stage.        

Tonight’s performers will be evaluated on elements of their vocal and visual performance, which carry numerical weight. The highest and lowest score from the individual judges will be dropped for each group. Our judges may recognize exceptional performances with special awards as they see fit.

There will be a 15-minute intermission. After the final group has performed, a guest performer will entertain you while the scores are tabulated.

Because each group only has 12 minutes to perform, we ask you to keep your applause to an enthusiastic minimum between songs. Please feel welcome to applaud as much as you want after each group has finished its set.

Videotaping and non-flash photography for personal use is permitted during the concert, so long as you do not disrupt our performers or other patrons. Due to licensing regulations, we do not provide a video or audio recording of this performance.

TONIGHT'S COMPETITORS

 

Founded to provide advanced music students with opportunities to perform tight a cappella harmonies, Limited Edition is a talented mixed ensemble from the Port Washington/Saukville School District. Now in its 16th year, the name refers to the group’s “limited” time as an ensemble. After one school year, all spots are re-auditioned and a brand-new group is formed. The group performs an eclectic variety of music, from madrigals to jazz, and spend part of their weekly rehearsal time working with special needs students in a specific music class. The students of Limited Edition choose and arrange music, plan gigs, write scripts, and learn all along the way, helping them grow as musicians and young adults. Since its inception, the group has performed throughout Wisconsin, for everything from community organizations to large company performances. In 2010, the group was named ICHSA Midwest Champion and went on to win the National Champion title. Since that time, they have won Midwest Semifinals in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016, as well as multiple awards for Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and Outstanding Arrangement. You can hear them on the BOHSA albums for 2010, 2012, and 2015. 

Graftonics is an extracurricular, auditioned group from Grafton, Wis. This is their sixth year of existence and fourth year competing in the ICHSA. They are excited to continue building on their skills as young musicians and growing their passion for music together. They can’t wait to share the stage with the other amazing high school groups across the nation. 

Knight Club from Oak Creek High School is a family of 18 members who share a passion for singing, as well as portraying stories through music. This year, their set revolves around the emotions associated with the end of a relationship and heartbreak. This set has brought Knight Club closer together than ever and they hope to take you on an emotional and empowering journey. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Knight Club. 

Unaccompanied Minors began in 2017 at Brookfield East High School. Brookfield East is a suburban high school located in the Greater Milwaukee area of Wisconsin. Inspired by the rise of high school a cappella groups and a lack of competitive groups in the area, Emma Jester and Macy Gardner took on the challenge of starting their own. Many were eager to audition and share their love for a cappella. In their second year, they currently have 15 very talented singers. The group is very diverse, both in their vocals and in each member’s outside interests. Unaccompanied Minors is a completely student-led group and regular rehearsals consist of food, sectionals, more food, choreography boot camps, and random outbursts of “High School Musical” karaoke. The group values teamwork, but also encourages individual growth and practice. All of their solo auditions are held in front of the group and selected by the members through a vote. While they all have different voice parts and musical backgrounds, at the end of the day every voice is heard, needed ,and valued to create the artistic experience of a cappella. 

The Accidentals is an 18-member, auditioned, a cappella vocal group based out of Arcadia High School in the small town of Arcadia, Wis. With students ranging from freshmen through seniors, this group has truly become a family, even though half of their group is new this year. The group is directed by Pam Siewert. The cool thing about this group is that even though they are all involved in different activities, they all come together to harmonize as one!  They are called The Accidentals because they always look SHARP, their singing is a NATURAL talent, and their personalities are never FLAT. 

Nothin’ But Treble is Loyola Academy’s all-female a cappella group. This particular group of girls loves to spread joy by singing throughout their community and school. They have participated in ICHSA for the past three years, and enjoy singing for different school and for service outings. Nothin’ But Treble prides itself on their love for making music and their excellent repertoire. 

Harmonix is an all-female vocal ensemble from Jordan High School. They come together twice a week to create music that uplifts, inspires, and encourages young women to be confident, strong, and fearless. This is their second year of existence and second year competing in ICHSA. 

Tonal Recall comes from Shell Lake, Wis. Shell Lake is a small town on beautiful Shell Lake, right in the heart of vacation land. Tonal Recall is in its fourth year of existence and second year of competition. The group prides itself on singing close, jazz-influenced harmonies with a funky flair. Tonal Recall has performed for local events, and are excited for more opportunities as their popularity and fame continue to grow. 

High Fidelity is an all-female a cappella group with the perfect range of pitch and personality. With their precise rhythm, exciting harmony, and stunning stage presence, HiFi captivates their audiences with their emotional dedication. After placing in the top three groups and winning Outstanding Soloist and Outstanding Choreography at last year’s ICHSA Semifinals, High Fidelity is thrilled to continue their tradition of excellence with this season’s performances. 

Maximum Forte is an auditioned co-curricular ensemble from Charleston High School devoted to performing an eclectic repertoire of music, ranging in genre from madrigals to contemporary pop/jazz arrangements. Under the direction of Juliane Sharp, the group was invited to sing as main stage performers at the Kettering National A Cappella Festival in Ohio and performed a series of concerts in the Nashville/Memphis area at venues including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Graceland. They also recorded at the famed RCA Studio B. In addition to their active performance schedule, this competitive ensemble placed 3rd in the 2018 ICHSA Quarterfinals in St. Louis, taking the award for Outstanding Choreography. This year, the group will be seen performing at a variety of events throughout the central Illinois area, including opening for the L.A.-based a cappella group, m-pact, at Eastern Illinois University in September and will be featured at the Coles County Youth in Harmony Festival at Eastern Illinois University in October.

TONIGHT'S JUDGES

 

Travis Erikson is in his 15th year as choral director and music theory instructor at DeKalb High School in DeKalb, Ill. He founded the DeKalb High School a cappella ensembles in 2004, and they have competed in the ICHSA since 2006. They have won awards for Best Soloist, Best Choreography, Best Arrangement, Best Vocal Percussion, and advanced to ICHSA National Finals in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015. He holds a B.A., M.M., and Performer's Certificate in music, and has studied piano, voice, choral music, and music theory at Whitman College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northern Illinois University under the instruction of Leonard Richter, Donald Walker, Ed Klonoski, Brian Hyer, Susan Pickett, Eric Johnson, Timothy Stalter, Joe Miller, Robert Bode, Christine Janis, and Orna Arania.

Aubrey Malito is delighted to be judging these talented groups! Aubrey attended Illinois State University for musical theatre and music business, and served as music director for the women’s a cappella group, Secondary Dominance. After graduation, Aubrey performed in musicals and cabarets in New York, and worked in house management for six Broadway shows. She continued to arrange a cappella music, and even was commissioned by the cast of “Jersey Boys” to arrange a piece for their Hall & Oates concert to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Since returning to Chicago, Aubrey has been an active performer and teacher. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Saint Xavier University with a degree in choral music education, and has gone on to direct choirs, musical theatre voice, and theatre at high schools across Chicago, including Whitney M. Young, Plainfield South, Carl Sandburg, and Marist High Schools. She also maintains a private voice and piano studio. Aubrey is represented by Lily’s Talent.

Heather Newkirk is a proud alumna of Syracuse University's Main Squeeze, for whom she sang, arranged, choreographed, and did vocal percussion. Since graduating, Heather has remained active in the a cappella world as social media coordinator for BOSS, Program Manager of Social Media for the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA), associate producer of Voices Only, and an instructor for workshops and masterclasses at a cappella festivals nationwide. She has won ICCA awards for Outstanding Arrangement and Outstanding Vocal Percussion as a college student, and Varsity Vocals has held a special place in her heart ever since.

Antonio Rodriguez graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, where he sang with The Amateurs for four years. He also served as arranger and music director of the group. He spent the next five years performing as a stage actor in St. Louis before gaining his union card and moving to Chicago in 2014. Favorite past musical credits include “The Who’s Tommy” (Tommy Walker), “Urinetown” (Bobby Strong), and “Altar Boyz” (Matthew). He was a member of the St. Louis Theatre Circle Award-winning ensemble of the a cappella musical “All is Calm” for three years, and is a four-time nominee and two-time Theatre Circle Award winner for his individual acting work in both musicals and straight plays. In addition to performing in full-length stage works, he has conceived and performed two solo cabarets in both St. Louis and Chicago. Antonio is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Andrew M. Wallace is an avid arranger and composer and has explored numerous genres of music, from traditional choral music to contemporary a cappella, for over 15 years. After over 10 years of teaching music education on the North Shore suburbs of Illinois, Andrew is now the Director of Accounts for a marketing and advertising firm in the fitness and endurance industry. He received his Bachelor and Master of Music Education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and serves as the Artist in Residence for the amazing Youth Choral Theatre of Wilmette, crafting original compositions and arrangements for them to premiere. Andrew has been the guest conductor for several music festivals, notably the 2013 Illinois Music Educators Association District VII Junior High Music Festival. Andrew also performs, directs, and arranges for a professional cabaret group in Chicago, The Chicago Red Line.

SPECIAL THANKS

 

Varsity Vocals would like to recognize and thank Alex Sheafor of Audio Max Productions, Jacob Henry, Adam McNeil, Robin Hackl, Secondary Dominance, Robert Tryee Photohraphy, Marc Solheim and the entire Pabst Team, Leslie and Eric Henry, and Luke Dutelle; our judges, hosts, competitors, volunteers, partners, and producers; and you, the audience, for supporting Varsity Vocals programming.




 

Amanda Newman
 Executive Director

Dave Rabizadeh
 ICCA Director

Andrea Poole
 ICHSA Director

Lucy Jacobs
The Open Director
 ICCA West Producer

Andrew Poole
 Director of Digital Media

Erica Tackett
 Director of Marketing & Social Strategy

Emily Flanders
Director of Adjudication
 ICCA Great Lakes Producer

Emily Sucher
 Director of Publications

Virginia DeMoss
 Album Production Coordinator

Sara Yood
Senior Producer

Helena Benthall
 ICCA United Kingdom Producer

Holli Kitching
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings
 ICCA South Producer

Leah Alrutz
 ICCA Midwest Producer

Courtney Jensen
 ICCA Southwest Producer

Holly Hayes
 ICCA Northeast Producer

Arvin Zabalerio
ICCA Central Producer

Elise Hackl
 ICHSA Midwest & Southwest

Producer

Matt Shirer
 ICHSA West Producer

Riley McMahon
 ICHSA Great Lakes Producer

Jillian Kimberlin
 ICHSA Mid-Atlantic Producer

Evan Powers
 ICHSA South Producer

Nicole Kohlweiss
 ICHSA Northeast Producer

OUR TEAM

 

We have an amazing team of people who work tirelessly to make our programs so valuable for our singers and audiences alike — and they all do it while holding down full-time day jobs, too! 

 

The top placing group advances to ICHSA Finals!

BRING THE HARMONY HOME

 

Find your favorite groups on The Best of College A Cappella (BOCA) and The Best of High School A Cappella (BOHSA), available for purchase on Apple Music and Amazon Music!

VIEW ALBUMS

varsityvocals

THE OPEN

 

The International Championship
of A Cappella Open

ARE YOU READY?

Carnegie Hall
 Saturday, October 5, 2019